Lifeskills South Florida Staff Overview

All Team

Leadership

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

With over 25 years of behavioral healthcare management experience, including over 18 years in executive leadership, Klay joined Lifeskills South Florida in 2015 as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he served as the COO of Skyland Trail, where he oversaw the organization’s strategic growth, financial operations, clinical operations, and marketing. With roots in community mental health, Klay led two of the largest community mental health centers in the state of Georgia, providing services to over 17,000 individuals annually in 11 counties.

Klay received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary and an M.S.W. from the University of Kentucky. A licensed social worker for more than 20 years, he has enjoyed being active in the community serving on multiple non-profit boards including the Red Cross, Georgia Community Service Board Association, and most recently on the Delray Drug Task Force.

Daniel Bober, DO

Daniel Bober, DO

Medical Director

Dr. Bober attended medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his adult/child/adolescent psychiatry training at the Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.

Dr. Bober served as a mental health policy fellow in the U.S. Senate through the American Psychiatric Association and the Yale University School of Medicine. While in Congress he championed the cause of veterans and active duty service members with mental illness. Dr. Bober currently holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

In treating adults, Dr. Bober’s clinical interest and expertise lay in working with individuals that have addiction, trauma and personality disorders. His is career has afforded him the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders in inpatient, outpatient and research settings.

He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and he is certified in Obesity Medicine through the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Additionally, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Bober is a Certified Addiction Medicine physician. He belongs to several professional societies including American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

DrBober.com

Admissions

Sergio Muriel, LMHC, CAP

Sergio Muriel, LMHC, CAP

Admissions Director

Sergio is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Certified Addiction Professional, and is trained in EMDR. He has worked in the field of substance use and mental health for over 17 years. Sergio graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a master’s degree in Education, specializing in mental health and rehabilitation counseling. He is also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Throughout his career, Sergio has received several recognitions, including Sierra Tucson’s “Gratitude for Giving, Compassion Award” in 2016; “Above & Beyond” Award from Elements Behavioral Health in 2015; “Employee of the Year” from Miami-Dade County in 2007; “Appreciation Award”, Lindsey Hopkins Education Center-School Advisory Council in 2010; and “Appreciation Award”, Miami-Dade County, Mayor and Board of County Commissioners in 2009.

His passion and vision include helping individuals and families that have been affected by the disease of addiction and mental health. Having served in previous roles as Executive VP of Clinical Services, Executive Director, Admissions Director, Assistant Clinical Director, Primary Therapist, Judicial Services Coordinator, Family Therapist, and BHT Supervisor, Sergio brings extensive experience to his position. He is also fluent in English and Spanish.

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Lead Admissions Counselor

For several years, Lara worked in a treatment setting with adults suffering from mental health and substance abuse dependency issues. Shortly after beginning her career at Lifeskills as a clinical intern, she was introduced to the clinical and admissions team. Her work at Lifeskills allows her the opportunity to work with clients and witness the transformation they make and the strength they have as they journey to recovery. Lara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida followed by her Master of Social Work degree from Florida Atlantic University. She is also intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute. Lara looks to continue working in the field of Social Work and receiving her license as a Clinical Social Worker.

Jorge A. Vázquez-López

Jorge A. Vázquez-López

Admissions Counselor

With a professional background in both luxury hospitality and residential treatment admissions, Jorge Vázquez-López is distinguished by his passion for excellence in customer service and his constant striving to exceed client expectations. In addition, he has extensive experience working with complicated clinical cases and is accustomed to working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Jorge is currently enrolled in Palm Beach Atlantic University where he is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Mental Health.

Beth Miskiewicz

Beth Miskiewicz

Admissions Counselor

Beth recently joined Lifeskills South Florida’s Admissions Department and brought her passion for assisting people with the decision to seek life-changing treatment. She has many years of experience in residential treatment facilities in case management and admissions coordination roles, and has also worked with special needs and autistic students. Beth earned an Associate in Applied Science in Addictions Counseling and is a Certified Addiction Counselor for the State of Florida. In her free time she volunteers at adoption events for a non-profit dog rescue.

Ally Barlow, BA

Ally Barlow, BA

Admissions Coordinator

Ally joins the LifeSkills team as an Admissions Coordinator, where she guides Clients and their families throughout the admissions process and answers inquiries and requests. Ally brings a rich experience working as a residential counselor in group homes supporting individuals with mental health disorders while they worked on their activities of daily living. She created individualized action plans that guided the individuals towards independence. In addition, Ally comes with customer service and managerial experience. A graduate of Bryant University, Ally holds a B.A. in Applied Psychology and earned All-America accolades as a member of the school’s volleyball team. Ally is currently working towards her M.B.A. with a focus in management and healthcare at Fitchburg State University. Ally enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband and two dogs, Renly and Mhysa.

Kaleigh Dietz

Kaleigh Dietz

Admissions/ Intake Coordinator

Kaleigh joins the Lifeskills team as an Intake Coordinator, where she welcomes clients to Lifeskills and guides them through the intake process. Kaleigh brings past experiences in concierge patient care and strives to bring a concierge experience to clients here at Lifeskills, while also creating a warm and welcoming environment. Kaleigh received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently working towards her Master’s in Counselor Education with a concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at FAU. In her free time, Kaleigh enjoys reading and spending time with her friends and family.

Clinical

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

Clinical Director

Dr. Ockman, a licensed Psychologist, and Certified Addictions Professional, has worked in the field of mental health and addiction for more than 20 years, beginning his career in 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University, a Masters and Doctoral degrees from The Miami Institute of Psychology, and has been licensed as a Psychologist since 2002.

Dr. Ockman brings a broad range of experiences to his role at Lifeskills South Florida focused primarily on the Substance Use Disorder track which includes clinical, supervisory and administrative capacities in therapeutic/residential communities, hospital settings, IOP and state regulatory positions. He has spent most of his career utilizing CBT and MET modalities and finding ways to provide the most effective interventions for patients and their families.

Dr. Ockman spent seven years as one of the supervising Psychologists of interns and residents for an APPIC approved program. He was born and raised in South Florida and enjoys finding great places in Florida to take the family.

Krista Valz, PsyD

Krista Valz, PsyD

Associate Clinical Director

Dr. Valz is a licensed clinical psychologist and earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Her training has included individual and group work in a variety of settings including psychiatric care, outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center where her clinical focus was forensic psychology and worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL with a clinical concentration on neuropsychological testing. Dr. Valz is trained in Cognitive Remediation Therapy. At Lifeskills, she facilitates specialized groups for clients diagnosed with bipolar and psychotic disorders, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia at both the residential and outpatient levels of care.

David Greenfield, PhD, MS, LMFT

David Greenfield, PhD, MS, LMFT

Clinical Pathway Director, Technology Addiction

Dr. Greenfield is the founder and medical director of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he teaches Behavioral Addiction Medicine and supervises residents in psychiatry. He is a leading authority on Internet and technology addiction and author of numerous articles/book chapters and the book Virtual Addiction which in 1999 rang an early warning regarding the world’s growing Internet Addiction problem. Dr. Greenfield participates with the national and international psychiatric community by sharing his expertise through lectures, research, and various publications. He holds advanced training and board certifications in Addictions, Addiction Medicine, and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Dr. Greenfield lectures throughout the world, and has appeared on CNN, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Fox News, ESPN, NPR and HBO. He’s been featured in U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, People, Time, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.

Dr. Greenfield’s recent work is focused on the neurobiology of compulsive Internet, Smartphone, and screen use. He is credited with popularizing the variable reinforcement (slot machine model) of behavioral addictions and the dopamine-behavioral addiction connection.

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Director of Nursing

With over 25 years of nursing experience, and five years of specialty work in the mental health and chemical dependence field, Kettly is passionate about helping those with mental health issues receive quality and ethical care. She has a master’s degree in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has also secured a diploma in Psychology, Social Work, and Behavior Analyst. She has experience in initiatives focused on improving clinical outcomes and improving patient and staff satisfaction. She is a nurse educator, mentor, and a preceptor to high school students who are interested in choosing healthcare as a career after graduation. Kettly enjoys lending a helping hand to those who are in need, confident that something positive will be learned from all experiences. She is proud of both of her grown children who have followed into the nursing profession.

David Duquette, PsyD

David Duquette, PsyD

Director of Quality Improvement & Utilization Review

Dr. Duquette, Director of Quality Improvement and Utilization Review at Lifeskills South Florida, earned his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Carlos Albizu University and completed his pre-doctoral internship at South Florida State Hospital. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he was the Utilization Review Manager at the largest community mental health center in Colorado, where he authorized all levels of mental health services for Medicaid consumers. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in obtaining authorizations from private insurance companies.

Despina Karfis, PsyD

Despina Karfis, PsyD

Primary Therapist

Dr. Despina Karfis has had her doctorate in clinical psychology for 15 years. In addition, she has been working with clients with mental health issues and substance dependency for over twenty years.  Dr. Karfis earned her Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology and has made strides using cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidenced based modalities.  She has received specialized training in Forensic Psychology and has special talents in working with those suffering from traumatic events.  She completed an APA accredited internship and a dissertation called:  “A Relapse Prevention Program for the Prevention of Eating Disorders”.  Dr. Karfis is known to be a professional who is skilled for working with the most challenging clients and enjoys monitoring their success through measurable outcomes.   She enjoys “traveling and  spending time with her two children and husband, playing board games, watching movies, sports, dining out and building happy memories”.

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP-II

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP-II

Primary Therapist

Dr. Arthur Chen has two master’s degrees in psychology (Master of Applied Psychology with a specialization in Counseling and a Master of Clinical Psychology) along with a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. He is currently appointed as an Associate Professor of Psychology and oversees LifeSkills’ Clinical Trauma Pathway and conducts psychological testing. Moreover, he is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional – Level 2 (CCTP-II) with the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP). CCTP – II is the highest certification in trauma obtainable by the IATP. He is also intensively trained in Exposure with Response prevention (ExRP) for the treatment of OCD. In addition to his years of experience working with eating disorders, primary mental health, and substance abuse, Dr. Chen has worked with patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety (including Generalized Anxiety and Phobias), depression, thought disorders, and personality disorders.

Arthur has also presented and lectured at psychology conferences throughout the United States. He is fluent in both English and Mandarin. In his off time, Dr. Arthur is an avid outdoorsman including a passion for automotive racing, motorcycling, and horseback riding. He has ridden horseback throughout the United States, South Africa, and Costa Rica. He is also passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteered with various charities in South Florida. He has been a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sister Program of America for the last 16 years. He was very honored to have been the nominee for the Men with Caring Hearts Outstanding Male Volunteer Award given by the Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Boca Raton, FL in 2016.

Richard Charles, LMFT, EdD, EdS

Richard Charles, LMFT, EdD, EdS

Primary Therapist

Dr. Richard Charles has 22 years of clinical experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He has extensive interest in working with those experiencing co-occurring disorders. He utilizes evidenced-based approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing, as well as the family systems approach to examine and conceptualize family dynamics. Dr. Richard Charles brings expertise in Applied Behavioral Analysis as he is certified as an A.B.A (Applied Behavior Analyst). This has allowed him to treat clients requiring behavioral interventions in the most effective manner—including those with Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Charles is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) for the past 17 years. He received his Doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Counseling Psychology, an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Counseling from Barry University, and a Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from St. Thomas University. Over the past 12 years, he has also served as a Qualified Supervisor in the state of Florida.

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

With over 15 years of mental health and addiction experience, Sandra is a primary therapist providing individual, and group therapy utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MI, and Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) modalities and solution-focused techniques. She is an expert in CBT, working in exposure therapy especially with anxiety and mood issues. Sandra has worked in individual and group settings in outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She has managed family counseling and outpatient programs monitoring the delivery of clinical services to youth and their families. She has also been a Qualified Clinical Supervisor providing clinical supervision to therapists for licensure. Sandy is REBT Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Temple University and her Master of Social Work at Barry University.

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Primary Therapist

Christine is a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, with a broad range of experience in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. Her experience has also included providing therapeutic services to patients suffering from substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorders at Addiction Treatment Centers, Community Health Emergency Psychiatric Care Unit, and at a VA Medical Center. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University and an MSW from Florida Atlantic University. Christine is a nationally trained and certified EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She uses a variety of evidence-based modalities, such as CBT, Motivational Interviewing, DBT, and MET, and EMDR, to provide the most effective interventions for clients and their families. Being solution-focused in her approach, Christine believes in empowering clients to take control of their lives.

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

Courtney is specialized in treating individuals with mental health issues using a Solution Focused Approach, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems Theory. Courtney is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She is strength-based and considers the entire family system during her work with clients to optimize immediate and long-term successes. Courtney received her Undergraduate degree from The University of Florida in Psychology and received her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist and group faciliatory, Ian utilizes person-centered and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to empower his clients to learn the importance of self-acceptance. Ian is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. He is responsible for facilitating the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Male Trauma pathways at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), and helping clients along their continued journey through recovery. Ian has shown a tremendous interest in the treatment for trauma and PTSD, which has fueled his passion for DBT. He has remained intensively trained by the Behavioral Tech, A Linehan Institute training company, and utilizes his deep understanding of the conceptual model within individualized DBT coaching sessions, as well as in his skills training groups. He often uses mindfulness perspectives to help his clients become more in the present in their moment-to-moment experiences, in a non-judgmental way, to live life to the fullest potential. Ian has a master’s degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and has also attended Trenčianske Teplice Slovakia, at the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI) where he learned the Adlerian concepts of Early Recollection with Substance Use Disorder and the conceptual model of neurosis.

Robert Bruno, PsyD

Robert Bruno, PsyD

Primary Therapist

Dr. Robert Bruno has his expertise in serving clients with mental health issues and substance dependency. He has been immersed in this work for the last 11 years. He graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a double major in Psychology and Biology. Dr. Bruno then earned his Masters in Professional Psychology and his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from William James College in Newton, MA between 2014 and 2019. He devoted a portion of his career in community mental health on a Mobile Crisis Team for over 5 years. Dr Bruno obtained valuable experience becoming an expert in crisis intervention techniques and working with those living with severe mental illness, mood disorders and personality disorders. Professionally, he utilizes evidenced based approaches and has focused on the process of a true multidisciplinary approach to symptom reduction and treatment. Dr. Bruno has returned to South Florida to serve the community that first gave him the drive to help those living with mental health issues. He also enjoys playing piano, camping, fishing and spending time with his wife in the beautiful South Florida weather.

Tara Alhadeff, LMHC, CAI

Tara Alhadeff, LMHC, CAI

Primary Therapist

Tara Alhadeff has almost 20 years of clinical experience in both residential and outpatient settings. Tara is known as a skillful motivator, leading clients to examine their current patterns and supporting them as they re-calibrate for coping with daily challenges. She has extensive interest in working with those experiencing co-occurring disorders and their families. She utilizes evidenced based approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Her extensive experience in Recovery Coaching supports clients as they move out of the pre-contemplation stage of change.

Tara brings an expertise in Intervention as she has completed intensive training and is certified as an ARISE (A Relational Intervention Sequence for Engagement) Interventionist. This has supported her treatment of clients requiring behavioral interventions and those suffering with addictions in the most effective manner. Ms Alhadeff is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University and her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Tara is artistic and creative and enjoys spending time with her family.

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid brings a unique perspective to the clinical team. Reid earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University and his Master of Science in Applied Psychology at Lynn University. Following an intensive clinical internship at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid has provided both case management support and clinical care. Reid is REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City. He has worked with both young adults and adult dual-diagnosis clients and also has an interest in social anxiety and personality disorders. Over the years, Reid has worked in several settings including as a studio engineer while working on Music Row in Nashville, TN.  Given Reid’s passion and musical expertise, he currently shares his office with the Lifeskills South Florida Outpatient Program’s music studio.

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Associate Director of Family Services

Ostin came to Lifeskills South Florida with nearly a decade of experience in mental health, marriage and family therapy and substance abuse. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, Ostin obtained his master’s degree from Barry University in Mental Health Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, DBT-Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute, and a nationally trained EMDR therapist. At Lifeskills, Ostin oversees the Family Programming as well as facilitates DBT skills-based groups.

Pamela Detlefsen, LMHC, CAP

Pamela Detlefsen, LMHC, CAP

Family Therapist

Pamela Detlefsen, LMHC, CAP came to Lifeskills of South Florida with eighteen years of experience in mental health, marriage, and family therapy in mental health and addictions treatment.  Pamela attained a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and went on to earn her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling and Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling from Barry University in Miami.  She also holds a certification in Addiction Counseling from the University of Miami.  She provides clients with compassionate guidance to identify realistic solutions for the challenges they face.

Her approach to family work is based on Family Systems theory, and she incorporates clarifying family roles, promoting empathy and boundaries in the family structure.  She is also well-versed in Psychodynamic and Attachment theories, which help pinpoint places in our history where false narratives about the self and the world may have taken root, leading to solutions in the present.

Personally, Pamela is a homebody and enjoys watching films, reality shows, reading, and cooking.  She has a fiancé and two rescue dogs, who have been a joy.

Daron Flory, DMFT, LMFT, MedFT

Daron Flory, DMFT, LMFT, MedFT

Family Therapist

Dr. Daron Flory came to Lifeskills of South Florida with over a decade of experience in mental health and marriage and family therapy. After attaining his Bachelors in Psychology from Auburn University, Daron attained his Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northern Illinois University. After several years of experience in community-based therapy with adults and in private practice serving couples and families in Nashville, Daron relocated to South Florida to attain his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy and Medical Family Therapy. He is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, holds the AAMFT Approved Supervisor designation, and is nationally trained as a level II EMDR therapist; further, Daron has specialties in Emotionally-focused therapy, Solution-focused therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. His therapeutic approach involves meeting the family and its members “where they are” and collaboratively working to evolve the family system toward a working order.

Personally, Daron was a former soccer and rugby player in college and continues an active lifestyle. Daron enjoys traveling and the beach. He is a husband and father to two boys.

Madyson Levinson, MS

Madyson Levinson, MS

Family Therapist

Madyson Levinson is a Family Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida. She focuses on solutions to help build better family relationships, building communication, and supporting intervention. Madyson uses Adlerian and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in her approach with clients and families. At Lifeskills, Madyson provides family and group therapy leading a weekly Family Alliance Conference Call, where she provides expert clinical process and education to clients. Madyson earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and one in Religion from Florida State University. Madyson obtained her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lynn University. She is DBT-Intensively Trained and is a National Board Certified Counselor. She is fluent in sign language and has a love for the musical arts and theater.

Rabbi Brandon Gaines

Rabbi Brandon Gaines

Director of Activities

Rabbi Brandon Gaines has been a teacher, leader, guide, and source of coaching and motivation for over 30 years.  He possesses a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine, as well as a Rabbinical ordination from Yeshivah Pirchei Shoshanim of Israel.

He was the first black belt of Martial Arts master, Tom Bloom, a national champion who was amongst the first wave of students who graduated under Grand Master Chuck Norris. Brandon trained diligently with Master Bloom for over 15 years culminating in the obtaining of a 3rd degree Black Belt in Korean American Tang Soo Do. Additionally, he obtained a Black Belt in Ninjutsu under Master Michael Cairns (top student of legendary Martial Artist Frank Dux), as well as certification in Kung Fu Northern style Long Fist under Master Jonathan Wong.

Using these skills, Rabbi Brandon Gaines has mentored and encouraged those with mental health and substance abuse issues, helping them heal and prevent relapse. He is skilled and has a successful track record in utilizing experiential therapies in residential settings.

He moved to southern Florida with his wife and 4 children from California and has brought his talents and experience to LifeSkills.

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Director of Outpatient Services

Miguel is the Director of Outpatient Services at Lifeskills South Florida, specializing in addiction and trauma. A Licensed Mental Health counselor and National Certified Counselor, he brings a wide array of experience from the mental health and addiction field. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degree from Lynn University. Miguel is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute and is a nationally trained EMDR therapist. He has worked in a trauma-specific unit of a community mental health organization dealing with abused children and their families and has also worked with active duty military at a psychiatric facility in North Carolina. He has mostly recently worked with relapsing clients that are treatment resistant. Miguel has traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam to establish a foundation for the poor and provide training on the western practice of psychology. Additionally, he has volunteered for the Big Brother Big Sister organization in providing child support in Boca Raton, Florida. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to a good TED Talk/Podcast and enjoys astronomy and photography.

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Outpatient Primary Therapist

Danielle brings 20 years of experience in providing individual, couples and family therapy in various settings. As a Primary Therapist for our outpatient services, she works with our clients in a group and individual setting. She is a nationally trained EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. Danielle holds two master’s degrees from Lesley University and Columbia University with a concentration in both counseling and clinical psychology. She is also licensed in the state of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is a qualified supervisor.

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Nutritionist

Karen is the owner and president of 2001 Nutrition Services, Inc., a company with a philosophy of providing education and counseling in all areas related to nutrition. Karen is a licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist, with a master’s degree in Public Health. Her specialties include nutritional evaluation, advice and diet recommendations for weight management, chronic disease risk reduction, health promotion and wellness, sports nutrition, pediatrics, eating disorders, substance abuse, and psychiatric problems. She previously traveled around the world to train personal chefs in the preparation of foods low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. She also helps in menu planning, label reading, and proper portion control. Not only is she the nutritionist at Lifeskills South Florida, but she is also a nutritional consultant at the Palm-Aire Spa Resort in Pompano Beach, Florida. Karen is the author of the cookbook, “Delicious Nutritious Spa Recipes from the Spa at Palm-Aire.” A few years ago, Karen wrote a program for large corporations to help lower their health cost entitled “Superitis, A 5 Star Plan for Better Health”. She is a frequent speaker at corporate conventions and has appeared in programs for Toyota, The American Cancer Society, and Northern Trust Bank. Karen works with professional athletes and has consulted for the NFL’s Chris Carter’s FAST Program to increase athletic performance.

Buffy Rouse

Buffy Rouse

Yoga Instructor

As a lifelong dancer, singer, and creative artist with a degree in Psychology, Buffy completed her Yoga Teacher Certification in 2016 at the 500-hour level under Philip Christodoulou of Anuttara Yoga Shala. Certified in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Anuttara Raja Yoga (Kriya), her teaching experience includes Yoga Basics and Alignment, Mindfulness Meditation, Hatha, Vinyasa, Raja, and Yoga Barre at commercial studios, treatment centers, and as a guest teacher for the Dance Department at Broward College. With a deep love of the creative-expressive and healing arts, Buffy experienced the transformation power of yoga first-hand and embraced its connection with music, dance, and psychology. From this platform she encourages the use of intention and imagination, mindfulness and conscious breathing, yogic philosophy, and asana to initiate the healing process from the inside out.

Heather Wright, ISSA

Heather Wright, ISSA

Personal Trainer

Heather has worked in the fitness industry for over 28 years and has been a nationally certified personal trainer for the past 17 years. She specializes in weight management, endurance, strength, and sports specific training. The Metabolic Fitness groups that she facilitates at Lifeskills are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual client in weight loss, increasing strength, regaining balance and coordination, or improving flexibility. The goal is to make sure the clients fitness needs are met and to improve their overall self-esteem, health, and wellness. Increasing self-confidence, mind-body awareness and mastery of skill are at the heart of Heather’s’ work.

Residential

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Director of Residential Operations

Born and educated in the U.K., Joe has worked extensively in an operations role in the mental health and substance abuse field. His experience includes working as a director for inpatient detox and crisis stabilization through every level in the continuum of care. As an advocate for spirituality through the 12-Step model, and simultaneous neutralization of co-occurring dual diagnosis profiles, Joe works passionately to advance the quality of support offered to each client he oversees. Joe has served as a line of communication between clinical staff and clients and has focused on cases of high acuity and chronic relapse. He has worked closely with the FARR certification body, as well as DCF and JCAHO, and has acted as an educator to direct care staff through training and management. Joe is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator (CRRA) through the Crisis Prevention Institute in the safe management of disruptive behavior. Joe also assists in the management of the transitional living program at Osceola House. As a Residential Supervisor at Lifeskills, Joe has a desire to ensure that every client is set up for success in their treatment.

Ted Monticello, BS

Ted Monticello, BS

Osceola House Manager

As the Osceola House Manager, Ted focuses on assisting clients in developing a lifestyle of wellness and independence. He has over 22 years of experience and is well versed in multiple accreditation processes. Working in residential, PHP and Outpatient levels of care has allowed Ted to gain expertise in recovery, legal, case management, and programmatic issues. Ted graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Fitness Management from Northern Michigan University. At Lifeskills South Florida, he brings a focus on supporting clients, building team, and teaching our clients skills for life.

John Mills

John Mills

PHP Supervisor

John is experienced in working with adults with severe traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, and dual diagnosis. He began his career in the substance use/ mental health in 1989 in New England and held many roles throughout his career including Team Leader, Program Director and Director of Patient Care. In his previous role, John supervised the day-to-day operations of a large department consisting of 90 direct care staff and two recovery residences. He was also previously a Crisis Prevention Instructor and an Anger Management Facilitator. John is experienced in CARF accreditation and DCF licensure and is familiar with the 12 step Recovery Model. He is passionate about helping people with disabilities and ensuring they are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

Bill Kovach

Bill Kovach

Daytime Residential Supervisor

As the Daytime Residential Supervisor, Bill utilizes his training in DBT interventions and crisis prevention while working one on one with clients fighting through adversity, resolving interpersonal conflicts that arise in residential treatment settings, and organizing the client community to appropriate participation, redirecting maladaptive behaviors. Ten years ago, he left a comfortable position at a business run by friends to pursue a passion for helping others. He has cared for individuals of all ages battling mental illness, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, and comorbid medical issues, and he has served as liaison to families. Bill was also the Director of Safety and Security at an adolescent mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. He is experienced with the licensing and accreditation process with DCF and JACOH. His goal is always to ensure that our clients are safe and to seamlessly coordinate with clinical staff to maximize the client’s treatment experience and promote healing.

Daniel Thacker

Daniel Thacker

Evening Shift Supervisor

Daniel Thacker lifeskills south florida staffDaniel came to Lifeskills South Florida in January 2010, with over 40 years of experience in the field of mental health and substance abuse. He has worked with Severely Emotionally Disturbed adolescents and developed group home programs with the Children’s Psychiatric Center in Miami. Daniel spent 18 years working at psychiatric hospitals in the Palm Beach County area before his arrival at Lifeskills South Florida. As the evening supervisor, he oversees our clients and ensures they are attending their needed outside meetings. As a former CPI instructor, he brings years of experience in the art of verbal de-escalation and the ability to assess those in need. Along with the evening shift, he also supervises our overnight shift and assists in the staff scheduling.

Christopher Costanzo

Christopher Costanzo

Weekend Shift Supervisor

Christopher Costanzo lifeskills south florida staffAfter graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Public Safety Administration, Chris joined the field of mental health and substance abuse in hopes of helping many. With five years of experience, Chris has worked at many levels of care. At Lifeskills, Chris works as the Weekend Residential Supervisor. In this position, he has a hands-on approach in planning weekend activities and engaging clients in treatment-related weekend groups. He is trained in the discipline of verbal de-escalation and CPR. Additionally, he is expanding his horizons in pursuit of additional certifications in the field. In other areas, Chris assists department needs by providing oversight to client finances, which also allows for an expansion in the life skills component of the treatment process. His goal is to ensure that all clients have the tools they require during the weekend, as a continuum for regular programming.

Leadership

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

With over 25 years of behavioral healthcare management experience, including over 18 years in executive leadership, Klay joined Lifeskills South Florida in 2015 as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he served as the COO of Skyland Trail, where he oversaw the organization’s strategic growth, financial operations, clinical operations, and marketing. With roots in community mental health, Klay led two of the largest community mental health centers in the state of Georgia, providing services to over 17,000 individuals annually in 11 counties.

Klay received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary and an M.S.W. from the University of Kentucky. A licensed social worker for more than 20 years, he has enjoyed being active in the community serving on multiple non-profit boards including the Red Cross, Georgia Community Service Board Association, and most recently on the Delray Drug Task Force.

Daniel Bober, DO

Daniel Bober, DO

Medical Director

Dr. Bober attended medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his adult/child/adolescent psychiatry training at the Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.

Dr. Bober served as a mental health policy fellow in the U.S. Senate through the American Psychiatric Association and the Yale University School of Medicine. While in Congress he championed the cause of veterans and active duty service members with mental illness. Dr. Bober currently holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

In treating adults, Dr. Bober’s clinical interest and expertise lay in working with individuals that have addiction, trauma and personality disorders. His is career has afforded him the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders in inpatient, outpatient and research settings.

He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and he is certified in Obesity Medicine through the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Additionally, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Bober is a Certified Addiction Medicine physician. He belongs to several professional societies including American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

DrBober.com

Admission

Sergio Muriel, LMHC, CAP

Sergio Muriel, LMHC, CAP

Admissions Director

Sergio is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Certified Addiction Professional, and is trained in EMDR. He has worked in the field of substance use and mental health for over 17 years. Sergio graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a master’s degree in Education, specializing in mental health and rehabilitation counseling. He is also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Throughout his career, Sergio has received several recognitions, including Sierra Tucson’s “Gratitude for Giving, Compassion Award” in 2016; “Above & Beyond” Award from Elements Behavioral Health in 2015; “Employee of the Year” from Miami-Dade County in 2007; “Appreciation Award”, Lindsey Hopkins Education Center-School Advisory Council in 2010; and “Appreciation Award”, Miami-Dade County, Mayor and Board of County Commissioners in 2009.

His passion and vision include helping individuals and families that have been affected by the disease of addiction and mental health. Having served in previous roles as Executive VP of Clinical Services, Executive Director, Admissions Director, Assistant Clinical Director, Primary Therapist, Judicial Services Coordinator, Family Therapist, and BHT Supervisor, Sergio brings extensive experience to his position. He is also fluent in English and Spanish.

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Lead Admissions Counselor

For several years, Lara worked in a treatment setting with adults suffering from mental health and substance abuse dependency issues. Shortly after beginning her career at Lifeskills as a clinical intern, she was introduced to the clinical and admissions team. Her work at Lifeskills allows her the opportunity to work with clients and witness the transformation they make and the strength they have as they journey to recovery. Lara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida followed by her Master of Social Work degree from Florida Atlantic University. She is also intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute. Lara looks to continue working in the field of Social Work and receiving her license as a Clinical Social Worker.

Jorge A. Vázquez-López

Jorge A. Vázquez-López

Admissions Counselor

With a professional background in both luxury hospitality and residential treatment admissions, Jorge Vázquez-López is distinguished by his passion for excellence in customer service and his constant striving to exceed client expectations. In addition, he has extensive experience working with complicated clinical cases and is accustomed to working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Jorge is currently enrolled in Palm Beach Atlantic University where he is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Mental Health.

Beth Miskiewicz

Beth Miskiewicz

Admissions Counselor

Beth recently joined Lifeskills South Florida’s Admissions Department and brought her passion for assisting people with the decision to seek life-changing treatment. She has many years of experience in residential treatment facilities in case management and admissions coordination roles, and has also worked with special needs and autistic students. Beth earned an Associate in Applied Science in Addictions Counseling and is a Certified Addiction Counselor for the State of Florida. In her free time she volunteers at adoption events for a non-profit dog rescue.

Ally Barlow, BA

Ally Barlow, BA

Admissions Coordinator

Ally joins the LifeSkills team as an Admissions Coordinator, where she guides Clients and their families throughout the admissions process and answers inquiries and requests. Ally brings a rich experience working as a residential counselor in group homes supporting individuals with mental health disorders while they worked on their activities of daily living. She created individualized action plans that guided the individuals towards independence. In addition, Ally comes with customer service and managerial experience. A graduate of Bryant University, Ally holds a B.A. in Applied Psychology and earned All-America accolades as a member of the school’s volleyball team. Ally is currently working towards her M.B.A. with a focus in management and healthcare at Fitchburg State University. Ally enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband and two dogs, Renly and Mhysa.

Kaleigh Dietz

Kaleigh Dietz

Admissions/ Intake Coordinator

Kaleigh joins the Lifeskills team as an Intake Coordinator, where she welcomes clients to Lifeskills and guides them through the intake process. Kaleigh brings past experiences in concierge patient care and strives to bring a concierge experience to clients here at Lifeskills, while also creating a warm and welcoming environment. Kaleigh received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently working towards her Master’s in Counselor Education with a concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling at FAU. In her free time, Kaleigh enjoys reading and spending time with her friends and family.

Clinical

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

Clinical Director

Dr. Ockman, a licensed Psychologist, and Certified Addictions Professional, has worked in the field of mental health and addiction for more than 20 years, beginning his career in 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University, a Masters and Doctoral degrees from The Miami Institute of Psychology, and has been licensed as a Psychologist since 2002.

Dr. Ockman brings a broad range of experiences to his role at Lifeskills South Florida focused primarily on the Substance Use Disorder track which includes clinical, supervisory and administrative capacities in therapeutic/residential communities, hospital settings, IOP and state regulatory positions. He has spent most of his career utilizing CBT and MET modalities and finding ways to provide the most effective interventions for patients and their families.

Dr. Ockman spent seven years as one of the supervising Psychologists of interns and residents for an APPIC approved program. He was born and raised in South Florida and enjoys finding great places in Florida to take the family.

Krista Valz, PsyD

Krista Valz, PsyD

Associate Clinical Director

Dr. Valz is a licensed clinical psychologist and earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Her training has included individual and group work in a variety of settings including psychiatric care, outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center where her clinical focus was forensic psychology and worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL with a clinical concentration on neuropsychological testing. Dr. Valz is trained in Cognitive Remediation Therapy. At Lifeskills, she facilitates specialized groups for clients diagnosed with bipolar and psychotic disorders, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia at both the residential and outpatient levels of care.

David Greenfield, PhD, MS, LMFT

David Greenfield, PhD, MS, LMFT

Clinical Pathway Director, Technology Addiction

Dr. Greenfield is the founder and medical director of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he teaches Behavioral Addiction Medicine and supervises residents in psychiatry. He is a leading authority on Internet and technology addiction and author of numerous articles/book chapters and the book Virtual Addiction which in 1999 rang an early warning regarding the world’s growing Internet Addiction problem. Dr. Greenfield participates with the national and international psychiatric community by sharing his expertise through lectures, research, and various publications. He holds advanced training and board certifications in Addictions, Addiction Medicine, and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Dr. Greenfield lectures throughout the world, and has appeared on CNN, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Fox News, ESPN, NPR and HBO. He’s been featured in U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, People, Time, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.

Dr. Greenfield’s recent work is focused on the neurobiology of compulsive Internet, Smartphone, and screen use. He is credited with popularizing the variable reinforcement (slot machine model) of behavioral addictions and the dopamine-behavioral addiction connection.

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Director of Nursing

With over 25 years of nursing experience, and five years of specialty work in the mental health and chemical dependence field, Kettly is passionate about helping those with mental health issues receive quality and ethical care. She has a master’s degree in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has also secured a diploma in Psychology, Social Work, and Behavior Analyst. She has experience in initiatives focused on improving clinical outcomes and improving patient and staff satisfaction. She is a nurse educator, mentor, and a preceptor to high school students who are interested in choosing healthcare as a career after graduation. Kettly enjoys lending a helping hand to those who are in need, confident that something positive will be learned from all experiences. She is proud of both of her grown children who have followed into the nursing profession.

David Duquette, PsyD

David Duquette, PsyD

Director of Quality Improvement & Utilization Review

Dr. Duquette, Director of Quality Improvement and Utilization Review at Lifeskills South Florida, earned his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Carlos Albizu University and completed his pre-doctoral internship at South Florida State Hospital. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he was the Utilization Review Manager at the largest community mental health center in Colorado, where he authorized all levels of mental health services for Medicaid consumers. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in obtaining authorizations from private insurance companies.

Despina Karfis, PsyD

Despina Karfis, PsyD

Primary Therapist

Dr. Despina Karfis has had her doctorate in clinical psychology for 15 years. In addition, she has been working with clients with mental health issues and substance dependency for over twenty years.  Dr. Karfis earned her Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology and has made strides using cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidenced based modalities.  She has received specialized training in Forensic Psychology and has special talents in working with those suffering from traumatic events.  She completed an APA accredited internship and a dissertation called:  “A Relapse Prevention Program for the Prevention of Eating Disorders”.  Dr. Karfis is known to be a professional who is skilled for working with the most challenging clients and enjoys monitoring their success through measurable outcomes.   She enjoys “traveling and  spending time with her two children and husband, playing board games, watching movies, sports, dining out and building happy memories”.

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP-II

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP-II

Primary Therapist

Dr. Arthur Chen has two master’s degrees in psychology (Master of Applied Psychology with a specialization in Counseling and a Master of Clinical Psychology) along with a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. He is currently appointed as an Associate Professor of Psychology and oversees LifeSkills’ Clinical Trauma Pathway and conducts psychological testing. Moreover, he is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional – Level 2 (CCTP-II) with the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP). CCTP – II is the highest certification in trauma obtainable by the IATP. He is also intensively trained in Exposure with Response prevention (ExRP) for the treatment of OCD. In addition to his years of experience working with eating disorders, primary mental health, and substance abuse, Dr. Chen has worked with patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety (including Generalized Anxiety and Phobias), depression, thought disorders, and personality disorders.

Arthur has also presented and lectured at psychology conferences throughout the United States. He is fluent in both English and Mandarin. In his off time, Dr. Arthur is an avid outdoorsman including a passion for automotive racing, motorcycling, and horseback riding. He has ridden horseback throughout the United States, South Africa, and Costa Rica. He is also passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteered with various charities in South Florida. He has been a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sister Program of America for the last 16 years. He was very honored to have been the nominee for the Men with Caring Hearts Outstanding Male Volunteer Award given by the Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Boca Raton, FL in 2016.

Richard Charles, LMFT, EdD, EdS

Richard Charles, LMFT, EdD, EdS

Primary Therapist

Dr. Richard Charles has 22 years of clinical experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He has extensive interest in working with those experiencing co-occurring disorders. He utilizes evidenced-based approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing, as well as the family systems approach to examine and conceptualize family dynamics. Dr. Richard Charles brings expertise in Applied Behavioral Analysis as he is certified as an A.B.A (Applied Behavior Analyst). This has allowed him to treat clients requiring behavioral interventions in the most effective manner—including those with Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Charles is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) for the past 17 years. He received his Doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Counseling Psychology, an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Counseling from Barry University, and a Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from St. Thomas University. Over the past 12 years, he has also served as a Qualified Supervisor in the state of Florida.

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

With over 15 years of mental health and addiction experience, Sandra is a primary therapist providing individual, and group therapy utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MI, and Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) modalities and solution-focused techniques. She is an expert in CBT, working in exposure therapy especially with anxiety and mood issues. Sandra has worked in individual and group settings in outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She has managed family counseling and outpatient programs monitoring the delivery of clinical services to youth and their families. She has also been a Qualified Clinical Supervisor providing clinical supervision to therapists for licensure. Sandy is REBT Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Temple University and her Master of Social Work at Barry University.

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Primary Therapist

Christine is a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, with a broad range of experience in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. Her experience has also included providing therapeutic services to patients suffering from substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorders at Addiction Treatment Centers, Community Health Emergency Psychiatric Care Unit, and at a VA Medical Center. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University and an MSW from Florida Atlantic University. Christine is a nationally trained and certified EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She uses a variety of evidence-based modalities, such as CBT, Motivational Interviewing, DBT, and MET, and EMDR, to provide the most effective interventions for clients and their families. Being solution-focused in her approach, Christine believes in empowering clients to take control of their lives.

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

Courtney is specialized in treating individuals with mental health issues using a Solution Focused Approach, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems Theory. Courtney is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She is strength-based and considers the entire family system during her work with clients to optimize immediate and long-term successes. Courtney received her Undergraduate degree from The University of Florida in Psychology and received her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist and group faciliatory, Ian utilizes person-centered and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to empower his clients to learn the importance of self-acceptance. Ian is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. He is responsible for facilitating the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Male Trauma pathways at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), and helping clients along their continued journey through recovery. Ian has shown a tremendous interest in the treatment for trauma and PTSD, which has fueled his passion for DBT. He has remained intensively trained by the Behavioral Tech, A Linehan Institute training company, and utilizes his deep understanding of the conceptual model within individualized DBT coaching sessions, as well as in his skills training groups. He often uses mindfulness perspectives to help his clients become more in the present in their moment-to-moment experiences, in a non-judgmental way, to live life to the fullest potential. Ian has a master’s degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and has also attended Trenčianske Teplice Slovakia, at the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI) where he learned the Adlerian concepts of Early Recollection with Substance Use Disorder and the conceptual model of neurosis.

Robert Bruno, PsyD

Robert Bruno, PsyD

Primary Therapist

Dr. Robert Bruno has his expertise in serving clients with mental health issues and substance dependency. He has been immersed in this work for the last 11 years. He graduated from Florida State University in 2009 with a double major in Psychology and Biology. Dr. Bruno then earned his Masters in Professional Psychology and his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from William James College in Newton, MA between 2014 and 2019. He devoted a portion of his career in community mental health on a Mobile Crisis Team for over 5 years. Dr Bruno obtained valuable experience becoming an expert in crisis intervention techniques and working with those living with severe mental illness, mood disorders and personality disorders. Professionally, he utilizes evidenced based approaches and has focused on the process of a true multidisciplinary approach to symptom reduction and treatment. Dr. Bruno has returned to South Florida to serve the community that first gave him the drive to help those living with mental health issues. He also enjoys playing piano, camping, fishing and spending time with his wife in the beautiful South Florida weather.

Tara Alhadeff, LMHC, CAI

Tara Alhadeff, LMHC, CAI

Primary Therapist

Tara Alhadeff has almost 20 years of clinical experience in both residential and outpatient settings. Tara is known as a skillful motivator, leading clients to examine their current patterns and supporting them as they re-calibrate for coping with daily challenges. She has extensive interest in working with those experiencing co-occurring disorders and their families. She utilizes evidenced based approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. Her extensive experience in Recovery Coaching supports clients as they move out of the pre-contemplation stage of change.

Tara brings an expertise in Intervention as she has completed intensive training and is certified as an ARISE (A Relational Intervention Sequence for Engagement) Interventionist. This has supported her treatment of clients requiring behavioral interventions and those suffering with addictions in the most effective manner. Ms Alhadeff is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University and her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Tara is artistic and creative and enjoys spending time with her family.

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid brings a unique perspective to the clinical team. Reid earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University and his Master of Science in Applied Psychology at Lynn University. Following an intensive clinical internship at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid has provided both case management support and clinical care. Reid is REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City. He has worked with both young adults and adult dual-diagnosis clients and also has an interest in social anxiety and personality disorders. Over the years, Reid has worked in several settings including as a studio engineer while working on Music Row in Nashville, TN.  Given Reid’s passion and musical expertise, he currently shares his office with the Lifeskills South Florida Outpatient Program’s music studio.

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Associate Director of Family Services

Ostin came to Lifeskills South Florida with nearly a decade of experience in mental health, marriage and family therapy and substance abuse. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, Ostin obtained his master’s degree from Barry University in Mental Health Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, DBT-Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute, and a nationally trained EMDR therapist. At Lifeskills, Ostin oversees the Family Programming as well as facilitates DBT skills-based groups.

Pamela Detlefsen, LMHC, CAP

Pamela Detlefsen, LMHC, CAP

Family Therapist

Pamela Detlefsen, LMHC, CAP came to Lifeskills of South Florida with eighteen years of experience in mental health, marriage, and family therapy in mental health and addictions treatment.  Pamela attained a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and went on to earn her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling and Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling from Barry University in Miami.  She also holds a certification in Addiction Counseling from the University of Miami.  She provides clients with compassionate guidance to identify realistic solutions for the challenges they face.

Her approach to family work is based on Family Systems theory, and she incorporates clarifying family roles, promoting empathy and boundaries in the family structure.  She is also well-versed in Psychodynamic and Attachment theories, which help pinpoint places in our history where false narratives about the self and the world may have taken root, leading to solutions in the present.

Personally, Pamela is a homebody and enjoys watching films, reality shows, reading, and cooking.  She has a fiancé and two rescue dogs, who have been a joy.

Daron Flory, DMFT, LMFT, MedFT

Daron Flory, DMFT, LMFT, MedFT

Family Therapist

Dr. Daron Flory came to Lifeskills of South Florida with over a decade of experience in mental health and marriage and family therapy. After attaining his Bachelors in Psychology from Auburn University, Daron attained his Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northern Illinois University. After several years of experience in community-based therapy with adults and in private practice serving couples and families in Nashville, Daron relocated to South Florida to attain his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy and Medical Family Therapy. He is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, holds the AAMFT Approved Supervisor designation, and is nationally trained as a level II EMDR therapist; further, Daron has specialties in Emotionally-focused therapy, Solution-focused therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. His therapeutic approach involves meeting the family and its members “where they are” and collaboratively working to evolve the family system toward a working order.

Personally, Daron was a former soccer and rugby player in college and continues an active lifestyle. Daron enjoys traveling and the beach. He is a husband and father to two boys.

Madyson Levinson, MS

Madyson Levinson, MS

Family Therapist

Madyson Levinson is a Family Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida. She focuses on solutions to help build better family relationships, building communication, and supporting intervention. Madyson uses Adlerian and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in her approach with clients and families. At Lifeskills, Madyson provides family and group therapy leading a weekly Family Alliance Conference Call, where she provides expert clinical process and education to clients. Madyson earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and one in Religion from Florida State University. Madyson obtained her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lynn University. She is DBT-Intensively Trained and is a National Board Certified Counselor. She is fluent in sign language and has a love for the musical arts and theater.

Rabbi Brandon Gaines

Rabbi Brandon Gaines

Director of Activities

Rabbi Brandon Gaines has been a teacher, leader, guide, and source of coaching and motivation for over 30 years.  He possesses a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine, as well as a Rabbinical ordination from Yeshivah Pirchei Shoshanim of Israel.

He was the first black belt of Martial Arts master, Tom Bloom, a national champion who was amongst the first wave of students who graduated under Grand Master Chuck Norris. Brandon trained diligently with Master Bloom for over 15 years culminating in the obtaining of a 3rd degree Black Belt in Korean American Tang Soo Do. Additionally, he obtained a Black Belt in Ninjutsu under Master Michael Cairns (top student of legendary Martial Artist Frank Dux), as well as certification in Kung Fu Northern style Long Fist under Master Jonathan Wong.

Using these skills, Rabbi Brandon Gaines has mentored and encouraged those with mental health and substance abuse issues, helping them heal and prevent relapse. He is skilled and has a successful track record in utilizing experiential therapies in residential settings.

He moved to southern Florida with his wife and 4 children from California and has brought his talents and experience to LifeSkills.

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Director of Outpatient Services

Miguel is the Director of Outpatient Services at Lifeskills South Florida, specializing in addiction and trauma. A Licensed Mental Health counselor and National Certified Counselor, he brings a wide array of experience from the mental health and addiction field. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degree from Lynn University. Miguel is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute and is a nationally trained EMDR therapist. He has worked in a trauma-specific unit of a community mental health organization dealing with abused children and their families and has also worked with active duty military at a psychiatric facility in North Carolina. He has mostly recently worked with relapsing clients that are treatment resistant. Miguel has traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam to establish a foundation for the poor and provide training on the western practice of psychology. Additionally, he has volunteered for the Big Brother Big Sister organization in providing child support in Boca Raton, Florida. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to a good TED Talk/Podcast and enjoys astronomy and photography.

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Outpatient Primary Therapist

Danielle brings 20 years of experience in providing individual, couples and family therapy in various settings. As a Primary Therapist for our outpatient services, she works with our clients in a group and individual setting. She is a nationally trained EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. Danielle holds two master’s degrees from Lesley University and Columbia University with a concentration in both counseling and clinical psychology. She is also licensed in the state of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is a qualified supervisor.

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Nutritionist

Karen is the owner and president of 2001 Nutrition Services, Inc., a company with a philosophy of providing education and counseling in all areas related to nutrition. Karen is a licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist, with a master’s degree in Public Health. Her specialties include nutritional evaluation, advice and diet recommendations for weight management, chronic disease risk reduction, health promotion and wellness, sports nutrition, pediatrics, eating disorders, substance abuse, and psychiatric problems. She previously traveled around the world to train personal chefs in the preparation of foods low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. She also helps in menu planning, label reading, and proper portion control. Not only is she the nutritionist at Lifeskills South Florida, but she is also a nutritional consultant at the Palm-Aire Spa Resort in Pompano Beach, Florida. Karen is the author of the cookbook, “Delicious Nutritious Spa Recipes from the Spa at Palm-Aire.” A few years ago, Karen wrote a program for large corporations to help lower their health cost entitled “Superitis, A 5 Star Plan for Better Health”. She is a frequent speaker at corporate conventions and has appeared in programs for Toyota, The American Cancer Society, and Northern Trust Bank. Karen works with professional athletes and has consulted for the NFL’s Chris Carter’s FAST Program to increase athletic performance.

Buffy Rouse

Buffy Rouse

Yoga Instructor

As a lifelong dancer, singer, and creative artist with a degree in Psychology, Buffy completed her Yoga Teacher Certification in 2016 at the 500-hour level under Philip Christodoulou of Anuttara Yoga Shala. Certified in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Anuttara Raja Yoga (Kriya), her teaching experience includes Yoga Basics and Alignment, Mindfulness Meditation, Hatha, Vinyasa, Raja, and Yoga Barre at commercial studios, treatment centers, and as a guest teacher for the Dance Department at Broward College. With a deep love of the creative-expressive and healing arts, Buffy experienced the transformation power of yoga first-hand and embraced its connection with music, dance, and psychology. From this platform she encourages the use of intention and imagination, mindfulness and conscious breathing, yogic philosophy, and asana to initiate the healing process from the inside out.

Heather Wright, ISSA

Heather Wright, ISSA

Personal Trainer

Heather has worked in the fitness industry for over 28 years and has been a nationally certified personal trainer for the past 17 years. She specializes in weight management, endurance, strength, and sports specific training. The Metabolic Fitness groups that she facilitates at Lifeskills are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual client in weight loss, increasing strength, regaining balance and coordination, or improving flexibility. The goal is to make sure the clients fitness needs are met and to improve their overall self-esteem, health, and wellness. Increasing self-confidence, mind-body awareness and mastery of skill are at the heart of Heather’s’ work.

Residential

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Director of Residential Operations

Born and educated in the U.K., Joe has worked extensively in an operations role in the mental health and substance abuse field. His experience includes working as a director for inpatient detox and crisis stabilization through every level in the continuum of care. As an advocate for spirituality through the 12-Step model, and simultaneous neutralization of co-occurring dual diagnosis profiles, Joe works passionately to advance the quality of support offered to each client he oversees. Joe has served as a line of communication between clinical staff and clients and has focused on cases of high acuity and chronic relapse. He has worked closely with the FARR certification body, as well as DCF and JCAHO, and has acted as an educator to direct care staff through training and management. Joe is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator (CRRA) through the Crisis Prevention Institute in the safe management of disruptive behavior. Joe also assists in the management of the transitional living program at Osceola House. As a Residential Supervisor at Lifeskills, Joe has a desire to ensure that every client is set up for success in their treatment.

Ted Monticello, BS

Ted Monticello, BS

Osceola House Manager

As the Osceola House Manager, Ted focuses on assisting clients in developing a lifestyle of wellness and independence. He has over 22 years of experience and is well versed in multiple accreditation processes. Working in residential, PHP and Outpatient levels of care has allowed Ted to gain expertise in recovery, legal, case management, and programmatic issues. Ted graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Fitness Management from Northern Michigan University. At Lifeskills South Florida, he brings a focus on supporting clients, building team, and teaching our clients skills for life.

John Mills

John Mills

PHP Supervisor

John is experienced in working with adults with severe traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, and dual diagnosis. He began his career in the substance use/ mental health in 1989 in New England and held many roles throughout his career including Team Leader, Program Director and Director of Patient Care. In his previous role, John supervised the day-to-day operations of a large department consisting of 90 direct care staff and two recovery residences. He was also previously a Crisis Prevention Instructor and an Anger Management Facilitator. John is experienced in CARF accreditation and DCF licensure and is familiar with the 12 step Recovery Model. He is passionate about helping people with disabilities and ensuring they are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

Bill Kovach

Bill Kovach

Daytime Residential Supervisor

As the Daytime Residential Supervisor, Bill utilizes his training in DBT interventions and crisis prevention while working one on one with clients fighting through adversity, resolving interpersonal conflicts that arise in residential treatment settings, and organizing the client community to appropriate participation, redirecting maladaptive behaviors. Ten years ago, he left a comfortable position at a business run by friends to pursue a passion for helping others. He has cared for individuals of all ages battling mental illness, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, and comorbid medical issues, and he has served as liaison to families. Bill was also the Director of Safety and Security at an adolescent mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. He is experienced with the licensing and accreditation process with DCF and JACOH. His goal is always to ensure that our clients are safe and to seamlessly coordinate with clinical staff to maximize the client’s treatment experience and promote healing.

Daniel Thacker

Daniel Thacker

Evening Shift Supervisor

Daniel Thacker lifeskills south florida staffDaniel came to Lifeskills South Florida in January 2010, with over 40 years of experience in the field of mental health and substance abuse. He has worked with Severely Emotionally Disturbed adolescents and developed group home programs with the Children’s Psychiatric Center in Miami. Daniel spent 18 years working at psychiatric hospitals in the Palm Beach County area before his arrival at Lifeskills South Florida. As the evening supervisor, he oversees our clients and ensures they are attending their needed outside meetings. As a former CPI instructor, he brings years of experience in the art of verbal de-escalation and the ability to assess those in need. Along with the evening shift, he also supervises our overnight shift and assists in the staff scheduling.

Christopher Costanzo

Christopher Costanzo

Weekend Shift Supervisor

Christopher Costanzo lifeskills south florida staffAfter graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Public Safety Administration, Chris joined the field of mental health and substance abuse in hopes of helping many. With five years of experience, Chris has worked at many levels of care. At Lifeskills, Chris works as the Weekend Residential Supervisor. In this position, he has a hands-on approach in planning weekend activities and engaging clients in treatment-related weekend groups. He is trained in the discipline of verbal de-escalation and CPR. Additionally, he is expanding his horizons in pursuit of additional certifications in the field. In other areas, Chris assists department needs by providing oversight to client finances, which also allows for an expansion in the life skills component of the treatment process. His goal is to ensure that all clients have the tools they require during the weekend, as a continuum for regular programming.

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